Weekend Box Office (September 9 - 11, 2005)
by Gitesh Pandya
THIS WEEKEND Sony closed the books on a disappointing summer and kicked off the fall season in style with the stellar opening of the supernatural thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose which surged past industry expectations to claim the number one spot across North America. The PG-13 chiller about a priest on trial for causing the death of a college student grossed $30.1M over the weekend, according to final studio figures, making it the third-best September launch ever. Scaring ticket buyers in 2,981 theaters, the $19M production averaged a spooky $10,082 and will end up becoming another profitable thriller for the studio.
Teens and young adults flocked to the multiplexes as studio data showed that 57% of the audience was under 25. The gender split was even indicating broad appeal. Sony's marketing connected with the target crowd but the results were far stronger than industry watchers had expected. Exorcism scored the biggest opening ever for Sony's Screen Gems unit and was the second best bow for the studio this year after February's Hitch which debuted to $43.1M. The only September films to open higher were 2002's Sweet Home Alabama and 1998's Rush Hour with $35.6M and $33M, respectively.
Summer holdovers filled up eight of the remaining nine slots in the top ten. The 40-Year-Old Virgin kept on going strong remaining at number two with $7.7M. The Universal hit comedy dropped 42% and pushed its cume to $82.1M putting it even closer to the $100M mark which it should reach by the end of the month. Virgin has already become the studio's top-grossing film of 2005.
Last weekend's number one film Transporter 2 fell 55% in its second weekend to $7.4M. The Fox action sequel has taken in $30.3M in ten days and has surpassed the $25.3M that 2002's The Transporter grossed in its entire domestic run. Fellow sophomore The Constant Gardner held up better declining 46% to $4.7M. Focus Features has collected $19M in ten days with the Ralph Fiennes conspiracy thriller. Final grosses should approach $45M for Transporter and $33M for Gardner. Following in fifth was the DreamWorks fright flick Red Eye which grossed $4.5M, down 41%, for a $51.2M total.
Moviegoers paid no attention, or money, to The Man, the new Samuel L. Jackson-Eugene Levy action-comedy. The New Line flop bowed to just $4.1M from 2,040 sites. That gave the PG-13 pic an average of only $1,993 per location.
Miramax's The Brothers Grimm fell 54% to $3.3M in its third frame giving the Matt Damon-Heath Ledger adventure $33.3M in 17 days. New Line's comedy champ Wedding Crashers collected $3.3M falling 32% for the smallest decline in the top ten. The Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn blockbuster broke the $200M mark becoming the fifth member of the double century club so far this year. Four had done the deed at this point last year.
Four Brothers declined 41% to $2.9M in its fifth session giving Paramount a solid $68.3M for the revenge drama. Rounding out the top ten was the unstoppable documentary March of the Penguins which took in $2.6M, off 35%, pushing the cume up to $67M. The Warner Independent smash now looks likely to break the $75M mark.
In limited release, the new Bollywood musical Salaam Namaste debuted with $504,898 from 63 locations for a strong $8,014 average.
A pair of scary flicks dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Universal's The Skeleton Key fell 54% to $1.5M putting its sum at $45.8M. The $43M Kate Hudson thriller looks to end with a commendable $50M. On the other hand, Sony's underachiever The Cave has grossed only $13.7M in 17 days. Look for a disappointing $16M finish.
The top ten films grossed $70.6M which was up a healthy 21% from last year when Resident Evil: Apocalypse debuted at number one with $23M; and up a scant 1% from 2003 when Once Upon A Time in Mexico opened in the top spot with $23.4M.
Compared to projections, The Exorcism of Emily Rose doubled my $15M forecast while The Man opened with half of my $8M prediction.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Just Like Heaven, Lord of War, Cry Wolf, Venom, and Proof all cram into theaters.
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|#||Title||Sep 9 - 11||Sep 2 - 4||% Chg.||Theaters||Weeks||AVG||Cumulative||Distributor|
|1||The Exorcism of Emily Rose||$ 30,054,300||2,981||1||$ 10,082||$ 30,054,300||Sony|
|2||The 40-Year-Old Virgin||7,717,530||13,301,085||-42.0||2,974||4||2,595||82,126,560||Universal|
|4||The Constant Gardener||4,726,644||8,673,803||-45.5||1,381||2||3,423||19,017,317||Focus|
|6||The Man||4,065,014||2,040||1||1,993||4,065,014||New Line|
|7||The Brothers Grimm||3,343,644||7,195,019||-53.5||2,750||3||1,216||33,295,113||Miramax|
|8||Wedding Crashers||3,252,154||4,752,482||-31.6||2,181||9||1,491||200,021,913||New Line|
|10||March of the Penguins||2,639,936||4,059,429||-35.0||2,403||12||1,099||66,979,768||Warner Ind.|
|11||The Skeleton Key||1,510,180||3,306,850||-54.3||1,882||5||802||45,821,815||Universal|
|14||Sky High||1,131,891||2,000,779||-43.4||1,206||7||939||60,711,608||Buena Vista|
|16||An Unfinished Life||1,008,308||139||1||7,254||1,008,308||Miramax|
|17||Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||992,389||1,755,422||-43.5||1,013||9||980||202,596,015||Warner Bros.|
|18||The Dukes of Hazzard||793,197||1,619,163||-51.0||1,245||6||637||78,583,769||Warner Bros.|
|19||Broken Flowers||753,289||1,086,408||-30.7||425||6||1,772||11,551,236||Focus Features|
|20||Salaam Namaste||504,898||63||1||8,014||504,898||Yash Raj Films|
|Top 5||$ 54,358,685||$ 53,323,519||1.9|
|Top 20 vs. 2004||81,021,863||73,097,103||10.8|
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Data source: Exhibitor Relations. Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated : September 12, 2005 at 6:00PM EDT